French President Emmanuel Macron, who blocked the opening of EU accession talks with Macedonia and Albania, is looking into the idea of offering all Balkan countries a partnership deal with the EU which would fall short of full membership, Serbian media are reporting.

While Macedonia and Albania were most directly affected, Serbia, which has opened accession talks, is also fearful that it will hit a roadblock under the new French approach, together with Montenegro which is the most advanced of the four.

The proposal would entangle EU money for infrastructure and other projects for the Balkan countries, in exchange for them dropping the issue of enlargement.

During the meeting of Macedonian party leaders last weekend, they were unanimous in the decision to reject any proposal that would fall short of full EU membership. President Macron announced he would visit Macedonia and Albania to discuss the snub in Brussels, although this visit is not uncertain, as Macedonia is heading to the polls, his Ambassador to Skopje said today.

Similar calls have mushroomed after the French veto in Brussels, including a push for a “Mini Schengen” from Zoran Zaev, the Austrian Standard daily and the ESI group.